Feedback: A New Pope Is Chosen

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A group of north country people witnessed history in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday as Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope.

He is the first pontiff from the Americas.
   
The new pope appeared on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica after a church official announced "Habemus Papum" - "We have a pope".

A group of north country residents is in Rome as part of a trip organized by St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church in Watertown.

The church's pastor, Father Don Robinson, spoke with 7 News by phone shortly after Pope Francis spoke to the crowd in St. Peter's Square.

Robinson said he and the others on his tour were at their hotel in Rome when they saw on television that white smoke was coming from the chimney at the Sistene Chapel.

White smoke means a pope has been elected.

"We just grabbed some people from the hotel, we got into a taxi and we just dashed to St. Peter's Square along with thousands of people and we got there and about 10 minutes later they announced the name," said Robinson.

He and his group were at the back of the square and couldn't see or hear the new pope very well.

But, he said it was exciting to be there in the crowd.

"There are people here from all over the world. You can tell this is not just a Roman event. It's not just an Italian event. It's a worldwide event to think we have a new Holy Father," said Robinson.
   
The conclave was called after Pope Benedict XVI resigned last month.

Pope Francis - the first Jesuit pope - has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina.
   
The former Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger, the last pope, in the 2005 papal election.

He has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work - overseeing churches and priests - that some say is an essential skill for a pope.
   
In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world's Catholics, the former Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as a self-effacing humility, according to his official biographer, Sergio Rubin. 

His personal style is the antithesis of Vatican splendor.
   
Bergoglio is also known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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